Suit by Simon Berard of Berard, Freres & Co. and Alexander Young, W.S. his attorney to recover against Mr. Hunter for the value of Madeira wine sold in Calcutta for an amount to be paid from the proceeds of the sale of muslin consigned by Mr. Hunter to Messrs Berard aboard the Carnatic. The muslins were lost during the return journey to Lorient when the Carnatic was seized by the Liverpool Privateer the Mentor. Although Messrs Berard had contracted to procure insurance for the cargo, the breakout of war between France and England in 1778 (six months after the contract was signed) caused a hike in insurance prices and the goods were only insured for 10,000 livres tournois instead of the £3,000 agreed to in the contract. Berard argued the change in circumstances excused his failure to insure and sued for £1,764, the value of the Madeira less the insurance money recovered. Defender countersued for the difference between the Madeira and the muslin. The court held that in mercantile practice a contract to insure imposes an absolute and unconditional obligation, thus Messrs Berard were required to acquire insurance in either England or France. No expenses due by defender. Berard issued a reclaiming petition, but while the answers were being prepared, Mr. Berard and other members of his family suffered death by guillotine.

Published Reports

David Hume, Decisions of the Court of Session, 1781-1822, pg. 320

Locations

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